Smoke machines aren't just for raves and fancy frat parties anymore. The University of Kentucky fire marshals are using the machines to simulate smoke-filled hallways in school fire drills, the Kentucky Kernel reports. Health officials are concerned about the effects of the smoke on those with asthma, while others are worried that the twist, which is kept secret from students, inevitably will confuse and endanger the dorm occupants. "I don't believe in scaring people," says one expert at a national fire safety watchdog group. "No one likes to be taught by being tricked."
But the local fire marshals stand firm on their claim that the vision-obscuring smoke teaches an invaluable lesson. One unintentionally quipped, "It opens students' eyes that they are not prepared for a real situation."